The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes


When you announce that you're engaged; everyone immediately asks the same question, "Have you set a date yet?"

When you announce that you've signed up for an Ironman; everyone immediately asks the same question, "What's your goal time?"

And I ask that question too - and I'm always surprised when someone says, "oh, my goal is just to finish". How frustrating! I'm a guy who needs a goal - a target - sub 1:45 for Half-Mary, 3:45 marathon... sub 53 duathlon.. sub 21 5K....

The funny thing is, when I announced my "Ironman". I honestly had the goal of "just finishing". But, as the summer has worn on, the what-ifs and the pie-in-the sky predictions have crept in. I'm happy with my fitness level, and despite not really having my "nutrition plan" dialed in - and not having the experience of having to run a marathon mid-afternoon after 7+ hours of physical exhaustion, I definitely have some expectations of what I'm capable of and alas, some goals.

There is an online resource, you enter some seemingly uninteresting, seemingly irrelevant variables, and it spits out your splits. Well, we did it for Guylaine's half-ironman... and it was dead-on. (actually she beat the prediction by 20 seconds -- it wasn't 100% dead on, it was 99.91% accurate).

Behold my variables:

And the predicted output:


I also independently predicted Guylaine's time -- I was pretty close too. Under by 5 minutes (98.7%). I used my expert opinion and the awesome triathlon calculator, Tricalc3.

Below, is my prediction based on what I feel I'm capable of:

A final time of 11:58. I like the sound of that better. Sub-12.

So, my new answer to the question, "What's your Goal?" is:

  • 11:XX would be incredible, "pie in the sky"
  • 11:58 would be fantastic, "A" Goal.
  • 12:XX would be great, "B" Goal.
  • Finishing would be just swell, "B-" Goal.